Taiwan - Country Commercial Guide
Education

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-01-15

Capital:  Taipei

Population:  23,603,049 (July 2020 est.)

GDP:  $1.3 trillion (2019 est.)

Currency:  New Taiwan dollars (TWD)

Language:  Mandarin Chinese (official)

CIA World Factbook:

24.04% of the Taiwanese population is under 24 years of age.

OVERVIEW

According to the Institute of International Education’s 2020 Open Doors Report, 23,724 students from Taiwan studied in the United States during the 2019/2020 academic year, a 1.5% increase over the 2018/2019 academic year.  These students contributed $991 million to the U.S. economy.  Taiwan is the seventh leading source of students going to the United States and the number one source of students per capita (followed by South Korea and Hong Kong).  Of the Taiwanese students studying in the United States in the 2019/2020 academic year, 39% were graduate students, 31% were undergraduates, 7% were non-degree students, and 23% undertook OPT (Optional Practical Training).  The most popular fields of study for Taiwanese students were STEM (32%), business and management (18%), fine or applied arts (10%), and social sciences (6%).

Taiwan’s early 2000s educational reforms, in which vocational and technical colleges became universities, have resulted in an oversupply of universities, a devaluation of college degrees, and a mismatch of the labor supply to job market demand.  These overcapacity issues are further complicated by Taiwan’s persistently low birth rate.  It is estimated that by 2023, there will be 184,000 new college entrants, a huge decline from the 271,108 new entrants in 2013.  This 32% decline is a major concern, as it could lead to a labor shortage in the future workforce and the forced closure of many higher education institutions.  In response to these challenges, in January 2016, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education formed a Higher Education Innovation and Transformation Task Force to promote alliances between higher education institutions and to establish experimental branch campuses, independent colleges, and certificate programs and courses.  However, collaboration efforts between domestic and foreign universities have been hindered by the high cost of education abroad, which limits study abroad opportunities for many Taiwanese students.

Additionally, in response to globalization and rising talent mobility, the Taiwan authorities created two important initiatives in 2018.  The “Yushan Project” seeks to attract and retain top domestic and foreign talent through three major programs: the “Yushan Scholars”, “Salary Flexibility in Higher Education Deep-Planning Program”, and “Increase Salaries for Academic Research-Oriented Professors by 10%”.  Each year, a maximum budget of US $187 million will benefit 19,000 teachers by providing a higher salary to teaching and research staff in colleges and universities.

According to statistics from the Taiwan Ministry of Education, a total of 71,221 Taiwan students went abroad to study or work in 2019.  The United States remained the top study destination for Taiwan students, with 23,369 students, accounting for 33% of Taiwanese students going abroad.  Australia came in second place, with 18,791 students, and Japan third place, with 9,524 Taiwan students in 2019.  Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, and New Zealand were also popular among Taiwan students.  Most Taiwanese students choose to go to the United States to attend degree, certificate, or language programs.  In contrast, most Australia-bound students take part in working holiday programs.  Canada and Japan offer similar visas to allow Taiwan citizens to work and study in short-term programs.

Taiwanese Student Study Abroad Destinations in 2019

North America (mainly United States)

27,771

Oceania (mainly Australia)

20,681

Asia (mainly Japan)

12,812

Europe (mainly United Kingdom)

9,957

TOTAL

71,221

 Source: Taiwan Ministry of Education

Traditionally, English-speaking countries have dominated foreign education recruitment in Taiwan.  However, in recent years, neighboring Asian countries such as Hong Kong, China, and Singapore have stepped up recruitment efforts for Taiwanese students, especially high school students. 

Many factors contribute to the increased interest in education abroad, including parents’ dissatisfaction with inadequate prospects available to Taiwan youth, mainly regarding higher education, job opportunities, and compensation and benefits packages.  Despite many incentives offered by China and by other Asian countries, the United States remains the top choice for Taiwanese parents.  This is further supported by the growing number of bilingual international schools operating in Taiwan that prepare students to study in the United States and at other foreign universities.  Since many of these students remain in the United States to continue their studies at the graduate level, graduate institutions may also expect growing demand in the future as a result of ongoing growth in the high school and undergraduate education markets.

For many Taiwan students, studying abroad at U.S. institutions remains an appealing alternative to studying in Taiwan.  Although Taiwan schools are far more affordable than those in the United States, studying in the United States (or in other overseas locations) provides better employment opportunities after graduation.  As a result, U.S. schools that emphasize post-graduation job placement are popular with Taiwan students.  Finally, it is recommended that U.S. schools promote their institutions to Taiwanese students by hiring student recruitment agencies, developing active alumni networks, and reaching out to potential students through education fairs and social media.

SUB-SECTORS

  • High schools and boarding schools
  • Joint-degree programs with local universities
  • Programs containing a work or internship component
  • Programs in business, engineering, computer sciences, health care, education, and fine arts
  • Pathway or bridge programs

OPPORTUNITIES

Partnering with local schools is an effective long-term strategy for U.S. schools to recruit Taiwanese students for joint-degree programs or short-term summer programs.  In addition, many Taiwanese universities have established Mandarin centers to educate foreign students.  U.S. schools should consider increasing cultural and language exchanges with Taiwan schools.  The U.S. Commercial Service in Taiwan can help match U.S. schools with local universities or high schools.

Partnering with student recruitment agents also allows U.S. schools to have year-round exposure to the Taiwan market.  Recruitmennt agents are one of the main resources used by Taiwanese students and parents when planning study abroad activities.  Commercial Service Taiwan can help U.S. schools pre-screen prospective agents and arrange one-on-one meetings in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

Participation in education fairs may also be an effective tool to recruit Taiwanese students.  Fair organizers have a deep knowledge of the market and can greatly reduce U.S. schools’ marketing expenses.  Local fair organizers also counsel students throughout the year and are able to follow up with prospective students.

DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES

Regarding digital media, the platforms used most by students in the country are Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.  To do research, students perform Internet searches using Google.  To search for job opportunities, students use various Taiwanese job hunting websites, such as yes123.

For social media, students in Taiwan use Facebook and Instagram.  They use YouTube to stream videos. 

Taiwanese and foreign schools market their programs through Facebook, education fairs, education agents, and partner schools in Taiwan.  Students and parents mostly receive information about education opportunities via word-of-mouth referrals and education agents, or they attend eduation fairs.  They also get school recommendations via advertising on Facebook.  CS Taiwan recommends that U.S. study state consortia and education institutions consider finding well-qualified recruitment agents and attending education fairs in Taiwan in order to build on their digital outreach strategies.  Well-qualified recruitment agents can help to build online exposure to promote U.S. education.

EVENTS

Participation in education fairs may also be a very effective tool.  Fair organizers have a deep knowledge of the market and can greatly reduce U.S. schools’ marketing expenses.  Local fair organizers also counsel students throughout the year and are able to follow up with the students who visited the fair.  Taiwan’s major education fairs featuring U.S. schools include:

RESOURCES

www.trade.gov/professional-and-business-services

U.S. COMMERCIAL SERVICE CONTACT

Wellington Chu, Commercial Officer

U.S. Commercial Service – Taipei, Taiwan

Email:  Wellington.chu@trade.gov

Phone:  +886 2 2162 2633

Mei Mei Wang, Senior Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service – Taipei, Taiwan
Email:  MeiMei.Wang@trade.gov

Phone :  +886 2 2162 2639